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Beethoven didn't take on many music students.
Those few who had this honour reamined faithful and very attched to him. This page presents a few of them...

Title.... Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838)

Ferdinand Ries, son of Franz Ries, was born at Bonn. Beethoven knew his father, who taught him music, and always remained very close to the Ries family, notably due to Ries' help at the death of Beethoven's mother.

When Ferdinand arrived at Vienne in 1803, he was 18 and already a good musician.

He presented himself at Beethoven's house with a letter of recommendation from his faher. Beethoven took on Ferdinand Ries three times a week for an hour and a half each lesson until 1805.

Ferdinand Ries

Beethoven helped him to find work at Vienna, at the residence of Count Browne, and then for Prince Lichnowsky. Ferdinand Ries also worked as Beethoven's scribe and copier.

In 1805, Ries left Vienna, but he never forgot his master. He dedicated to him his Two Sonatas for Piano, Opus 1.

In 1813, he went to London and became a member of the Philharmonic Society in 1815. The Society, through Ries, invited Beethoven to London. Beethoven never went, although he spoke about it often.

Having become rich, thanks to his music and to the lessons he gave, Ries settled definitively at Frankfurt.

In 1938, Ferdinand Ries and Gerhard Wegeler published their meetings with Beethoven, entitled "Biographical Notices".

Ries composed operas, oratorios, several symphonies and other works, notably for piano. It is difficult to get hold of them today.

Arrangements of Beethoven's works by Ferdinand Ries:

- the 2nd, 3rd and 4th String Trios, Opus 9, arranged for Trio for Piano;
- the 7th Sonata for piano, Opus 10 n°3, arranged for string quartet;
- the first six String Quartets, Opus 18, arranged for Trio for Piano;
- the 15th Sonata for piano, named Pastorale, Opus 28, arranged for String Quartet;
- the 7th Sonata for Violin,Opus 30 n°2, arranged for string quartet;
- the 18th Sonata for piano, named La Chasse, Opus 31 n°3, arranged for String Quartet;
- the Second Symphony, Opus 36, arranged for a String Qintet, two double basses, a flute and two horns..

Title.... Carl CZERNY (1791-1857)

Carl Czerny was the son of Wensel Czerny, the piano master at Vienna from 1786. By the age of ten he knew how to play most of Mozarts works for piano, along with the works of many other renowned artists of the era.

Beethoven, after having heard him, proposed giving him piano lessons. This went on from 1801 to 1803, twice a week, but irregularly.

Czerny had an astonishing gift of memory. Later he played all of Beethoven's sonatas for piano by heart, notably for Prince Linchnowski.

Carl Czerny

On Beethoven's recommendation, Czerny became one of Vienna's most reputable teachers. He taught Franz Liszt and Queen Victoria, for example. He taught also Karl, Beethoven's nephew, between 1816 and 1818.

Czerny stayed on good terms with Beethoven and worked on several transcriptions for him.

Carl Czerny wrote many studies for piano. He also published fingerings for Beethoven's sonatas.

He wrote his memoires in 1842: "Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben". And, in 1852, he gave his memories to Otto Jahn who published "Anekdoten et notices sur Beethoven"...

Arrangements of Beethoven's works by Carl Czerny:

- the second version of Leonore, Opus 72, arranged for piano;
- the eigth symphony, Opus 93, arranged for two pianos (and revised the version for two hands by Tobias Haslinger);
- the overture "The Consecration of the House", Opus 124, arranged for one and two pianos.

After Beethoven's death, Czerny published an arrangement for two pianos of the nine symphonies.

Title.... Johann Joseph Rainer RUDOLPH (1788-1831) - Archduke Rudolph

Rudolph was the youngest son of Leopold II (emporer from 1790 to 1792). His brother, François became emperor.

Beethoven became his teacher probably around 1803-1804. He taught him piano and composition. His student was an excellent pianist.

Beethoven taught him daily, for two to three hours, and Beethoven often complained about this constraint.However, often Rudolph was away from Vienna.

In 1809, he became one of Beethoven’s three patrons, along with Prince Kinsky and Prince Lobkowitz. The Archduke was made Archbishop of Olmütz in March 1820. But Beethoven continued to meet and teach him until 1824.


Beethoven dedicated many works to him : the trios "Archiduke", some sonatas for piano (Les adieux, Hammerklavier), the triple concerto, the Missa Solemnis, the grande Fugue...

The Archduke composed and dedicated to Beethoven 40 variations on Beethoven’s air (WoO 200), and he participated to the Diabelli's variations as many other composers.

The collection of the first edition of Beethoven’s works, and the letters which the Archduke received from him, are housed at Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.

Many thanks to Hannah SALTER for her translation of this page from French into English
© Dominique PREVOT

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